Children’s Lake in Cumberland Co. finishes $5.2M rehab project, will begin refilling process

28 July 2023- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that the refilling process has begun at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs (South Middleton Township), Cumberland County, following a nearly year-long, $5.2 million rehabilitation project.  The public should begin to notice the lake refilling with water slowly over the next few days, with complete refill expected in approximately two weeks.  

“This is a long-awaited milestone in the process of bringing Children’s Lake back to the community and delivering something that is truly better than ever,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director.  “While the lake has been missed by anglers and boaters over the past year, we’re proud to say that work was completed ahead of schedule and the wait is almost over.  Thank you to everyone who has had a role in making this a reality.”

In June 2016, after a sinkhole appeared near Bucher Hill Road, seepage and structural deficiencies were discovered in the existing dam at Children’s Lake.  The PFBC, South Middleton Township, private donors, and local residents combined efforts to fund the early design work, and in March 2018, Governor Tom Wolf authorized the release of $2.4 million in capital budget funds to advance the project.  In June 2022, state legislators helped secure the release of additional capital funds, and groundbreaking on the construction project was held on September 2, 2022.  The extensive rehabilitation project included the construction of a new dam, spillway, and retaining wall.  Amenities added to the lake property include an upgraded boat launch and ADA fishing area that were funded through various grants. 

“Childrens Lake is a cherished landmark that is so vital to who we are as a community,” said Cory Adams, South Middleton Township Manager.  “It stands as a testament to what people from all walks of life are capable of when faced with a challenge.  We are so thankful to our partners within state government, including the Fish and Boat Commission, our legislative delegation, and the Governor’s office.  We look forward to enjoying the beautiful new lake for many years to come.”

“This great day is proof that when state officials, local representatives, and community members work together, great things can happen,” said Senator Greg Rothman (PA-34). “Thanks to hard work, dedication, and perseverance, Children’s Lake will be treasured and enjoyed for many generations to come.”

A new dam, spillway, concrete boat launch, and retaining wall are among the improvements at Children’s Lake

“Children’s Lake is a treasure which lies in the heart of the Boiling Springs community,” added Rep. Thomas Kutz (PA-87).  “I’m thrilled to see the lake restored so that generations of residents and visitors will experience its tranquil beauty, and I’m grateful for all those who made this project a priority and a reality.”

“Childrens Lake is a premiere attraction and landmark along the Appalachian Trail,” said Senator Mike Regan (PA-31). “It is a special place to generations of central Pennsylvania residents and the funding from the Commonwealth has gone a long way in restoring it for many, many decades.”

“This project stands as a symbol of what can happen when the community comes together to support a common goal,” added Rep. Torren Ecker (PA-193).  “This gem of south-central Pennsylvania has been restored because of residents, community leaders, and state officials all working together so that future generations can enjoy this beautiful lake.”

Refilling of the lake is intentionally performed slowly to allow PFBC engineers to monitor the new concrete dam structures and retaining walls, which will be placed under a tremendous amount of pressure for the first time as water is introduced.  Regular inspections will occur in the coming weeks to ensure safety and monitor dam performance.  Refilling the lake slowly also limits the amount of sediment that is stirred up within the lake and flows into downstream waterways. 

With refill underway, anglers and boaters may begin to use the lake as soon as conditions allow. However, anyone entering the lake area during the refill process should use caution and avoid areas that may become muddy or slippery.  Boaters should avoid entering the lake before water levels have adequately covered the paved launch areas to allow for safe entry into the water.  Boaters are reminded to always wear a life jacket.

A celebration of the renewed lake is currently being planned by local project partners and will be announced at a later date.